Abroad Education

Abroad Education

US still top draw, but growth rate of Indian students halves

PUBLISH DATE 14th November 2017

Indian Growth Figure Almost Double China’s

Though the US is still a much-favoured destination for Indian students, the percentage of increase in fresh enrolments by Indians halved in 2016-17 to 12.3% from almost 25% the previous year, according to the latest Open Doors survey conducted

by the Institute of International Education (IIE). The year 2014-15 too had seen a robust growth of 29.4%.

In global terms, the US saw a decline in fresh enrolments this year, with nearly 10,000 fewer candidates signing up; the new student count of about 2.9 lakh represents a 3% decrease from the previous year.

For the third year in a row, the largest growth came from India, primarily at the graduate level and in optional practical training (OPT), which is temporary employment linked to a student’s area of study (eligible students can receive up to 12 months of OPT before and/or after completing studies). The Indian student population in the US now stands at 1.86 lakh.

Int’l students in US grew 85% in 10 yrs, growth slowing now

Of the 1.86 lakh Indians on US campuses, about 22,000 are undergraduate students (13.9% increase over the previous year), 1.05 lakh graduate students (3% rise), 57,132 are doing their OPT (35%) and 2,259 have enrolled for non-degree courses (a fall of 7.3%). China remains the country that sends the most students to the US, almost twice that of second-placed India. But India’s rate of growth still outpaced China’s (which is at 6.8%). Students from these top two countries of origin now represent approximately 50% of the total enrolment of international students in the US.

Again, while overall fresh enrolment has fallen, the number of international students studying on American campuses has increased. For the second consecutive year, US colleges and universities hosted more than 1million international students, reaching 1.08 million.

The factors driving the slowing of growth include a mix of global and local economic conditions, and in some cases, expanded higher education opportunities at home and declining populations, stated the press statement from the IIE on the survey. “Much of the increase reported for the past couple of years can be attributed to more students pursuing OPT related to their academic fields after their degree studies, and thus remaining longer in the US higher education system.”

These flattening trends have a nearly two-year history, as students reflected in the current Open Doors report were already on campus in September 2016 for the fall term, and most had applied in 2015 and made their decisions in spring 2016.

That prompted IIE to conduct a separate online fall enrolment survey with ten education associations in October 2017 to take an early look at what campuses are witnessing for the current academic year.

“The nearly 500 colleges and universities responding reported continued flattening in the overall number of enrolled students and an average decrease of 7% in the number of new enrolled students,” said the note.

These numbers were not evenly distributed: 45% of campuses reported decline in new enrolments for fall 2017, while 31% reported increase in new enrolments and 24% reported no change from last year.

While this year’s Open Doors report shows strong growth in the number of international students studying in the US in the past decade, with an increase of 85% since 2006/07 (when there were fewer than six lakh international students in higher education), the new findings signal that the increase is 3% compared to increases of 7% to 10% for the previous three years.

International students are important to the US economy. Last year, they contributed $39 billion through their spending on tuition, room and board and living expenses, according to the US Department of Commerce (Indian students contributed $6.54 billion last year). This was an increase over the previous year’s total of $35 billion.

Open Doors 2017 reports that about two-thirds of all international students funded their education through personal and family sources as well as assistance from their home country governments or universities.



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